Strong indications emerged Monday that Senate may anytime from now override veto on the Peace Corp Bill President Muhammadu Buhari refused to give his assent.
The bill was sent to the president for assent after it was passed by the National Assembly in July 2017, but Buhari had on February 27, this year declined to give assent to it, giving financial scarcity and conflict with functions of police as reasons for his refusal.
Raising a point of Order Monday, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), explained that he had been under pressure from his constituents lately over the necessity of Peace Corps of Nigeria.
The Senator, who came under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended, described as unacceptable reasons adduced by President Buhari, who cited paucity of funds and duplication of responsibilities for not signing the bill.
According to him, the bill should be reconsidered for assent, noting that the Senate will override Mr. President’s assent if he fails to do so, even as he wondered what those funds were meant that could not be channelled into funding of Peace Corps.
After Senator’s comments and since he came under Order 43, there were no contributions, while Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President, who presided over yesterday’s plenary session did not utter a word but asked Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, the Deputy Senate Leader, to go to the next them on the Order Paper.
Melaye had said, “I want to draw the attention of the Senate to the issue of Peace Corps. We have received a communication from the President on why he will not assent to the Bill. I want to say today that I have received hundreds of text messages from my constituents who believe that the Peace Corps is not only important, but should be given priority by Mr. President. They want the President to withdraw his non-assent to the Bill.
Meanwhile, Senator Melaye has taken a swipe at the Buhari led government of the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 16 years borrowed N6 trillion, but the APC government which is barely three years old, has borrowed N11 trillion.
He noted that the government has no specific programme for the youths of the country, just as he doubted the judicious use of $5.5 billion Eurobond and N11 billion security votes, saying there was no positive impact despite the nation parting away with such huge sums of money.
“The PDP in 16 years borrowed N6 trillion. This government in three years has borrowed N11 trillion. There is no specific programme for the youths of this country.
“About N500 billion was earmarked for social investments. We have not seen any impact. If the Peace Corps is allowed to exist, hundreds of youths will be employed. It will fight unemployment in this country. We are calling that the Senate will revisit this matter,” he argued.